Eight things we learned from the NBA Finals, and not all of them are about LeBron James.
The value of role players. Every team needs them, even with a Big Three, starring the King. Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier and Mike Miller took turns for the Miami Heat, sticking a dagger into the Oklahoma City Thunder.
It was a reminder that Michael Jordan won six championships, but in two clinching games, the big shots came from guys named Steve Kerr and John Paxson.
"We're all role players," Battier said. "It's just that some guys' roles are to sell millions of dollars worth of shoes, be in commercials, and get all the pretty girls."
• Victory parades in the NBA are still reserved for the relative few.
Miami's second title means only nine franchises have won the championship in the past 33 years. In the same span, 19 different teams have won the World Series and 15 the Super Bowl.
• A little March Madness doesn't hurt in June.
Miami's starting lineup included two past national champions - Duke's Battier and Kansas' Chalmers - and a Final Four participant in Marquette's Dwyane Wade.
Watching Chalmers torch Oklahoma City with his outside shooting in Game 4 must have rung a bell in Memphis. Chalmer's 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left in the 2008 national championship game created the overtime that Kansas dominated. Even James doesn't have Mario's Miracle.
"It meant that my name will last a long time in college basketball,'' Chalmers said. "It'll go down in history in Kansas as one of the top clutch shots. I used to watch (replays) a lot. Now, It's just a memory."
• They loved this series in Manila.
The country with the most Facebook and Twitter followers of the NBA Finals, behind the USA and China, was … the Philippines?
Right. And there were also six million television viewers — one of every 15 citizens — even though the games started at 9 a.m. A big reason: Miami coach Erik Spoelstra is half-Filipino, on his mother's side.
"It's through the roof. Everybody's watching at home,'' said Boom Gonzalez of ABS-CBN television in the Philippines. "(Spoelstra) is well loved. You know why? Because he comes over every year. He puts on clinics and camps and goes to the less fortunate areas of our country. I think a lot of people appreciate that thought from him, that he has really gone the extra mile to reconnect with his country.''
•Dan Gilbert is no Joe Namath.
Now would be the time to review portions of the angry letter the Cleveland Cavaliers owner sent to fans after James left town for Miami in 2010.
"I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before the self-titled `king' wins one.
"You can take it to the bank."
The Cavs went 31-45 this season.
• It takes time to be special. The idea of the instant championship - put big stars in an arena and add water — was a myth.
"Last season I felt that it was too much questions in our mind, in our head, and guys looking at each other and not wanting to step on each other's toes," Wade said, "This year I know I'm playing with the best player in the world and that doesn't take anything away from me at all.
"I know how to be first, and I know how to be second and whatever else. It was hard for me to do it and no one will understand, but it was easy for me to do it for this team."
• The Heat know comebacks.
They're the first team in history to win the title after trailing in three different series; Indiana, Boston and Oklahoma City.
• Why not a rematch?
Oklahoma City's young guns will be a year older. "Scary," Wade called them.
As for Miami, the only teams to repeat in 43 years are the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons and Houston Rockets. In case anyone was wondering.
So the Heat will have gaudy storylines to try to ignore again.
"I don't think we'll be able to dodge them completely," Spoelstra said.
Besides, wasn't it James who started counting off future titles in those giddy first days with the Heat? He's wiser now.
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